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Chat: Mauricio Rubio

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Wednesday September 30, 2015 7:00 PM ET chat session with Mauricio Rubio.

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Mauricio Rubio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXUtEzmE9sE Let's do this

Jimmy (stpaul): I figured this is one of a lot the same question, but I have to ask - what's going on with Buxton at the plate?

Mauricio Rubio: I have to think that the injuries have disrupted his seasons every year and haven't allowed for him to get into a proper flow. Some guys struggle early and then find a groove, Addison Russell was abysmal the first half of the year and found success in the second half. Buxton had an injury this year and didn't really get to adjust like Russell has. I'm not worried about his skills.

ColeWhittier (Pasadena, CA): Who has the brighter future, Addison Russell or Joey Gallo?

Mauricio Rubio: Speaking of Russell this right here is a fascinating question that comes down to how much you believe in their respective bats and defensive profiles. At their respective ceilings I would value Gallo of Russell ever so slightly, at their most likely outcomes I'd go Russell by a similarly thin margin.

Jonathan (Ottawa): You are starting a team in 2016 and can choose any of the following four players; Correa, Seager, Lindor and Bryant. In order of preference, who do you take?

Mauricio Rubio: Lindor, Correa, Bryant, and then Seager and the margin is super thin between the four. What a time to be a baseball fan.

Casey Jones (Medford, OR): You have the first pick in the draft and you already have Manny Machado on your roster. You have your choice of Correa, Bryant or Sano. Who gets the nod?

Mauricio Rubio: Correa because the idea of playing Machado and Correa on the right side of the infield with their offensive profiles makes me faint of heart.

I know it seems like I'm selling Bryant short with the past two answers but these are some high octane talents we are talking about here.

Jake (Boston): Lately during the final weeks of this year, Mookie Betts has been playing RF with Bradley in CF. Do you see that as the norm next year?

Mauricio Rubio: If you believe Jackie Bradley can hit enough to warrant serious playing time he should get the start over Mookie Betts in center and the Red Sox have one of the best defensive outfields in baseball. I need to see more from him before I get on the Jackie Bradley Jr. boat again.

John (California ): Any word on Cody Ponce? I saw someone on the prospect team did not like him, but the early returns look promising. What sort of fantasy upside do you see with him?

Mauricio Rubio: I don't know if "not like" is the correct term. I can only answer for myself here but for me Ponce has three plus pitches and a clean delivery. One scout said it was the cleanest delivery of the 2015 draft. Combine that with his body profile and that's some serious upside we're talking about, possibly #2 upside. It's an exciting package.

James (Scottsdale): I'm asking this question everywhere I can, but can't get a real read on the player. Isan Diaz. Is the breakout this year for real, or something fueled by the hitter friendly Pioneer League? What type of player are we looking at here?

Mauricio Rubio: This is a player I hope to get a serious and extended look at next year as he should hopefully be in Kane. There's one word that keeps popping up when it comes to Diaz: bat speed. Al Skorupa had his thoughts on Diaz in his chat a few weeks ago and it echos a sentiment that Diaz has the barrel control and bat speed to believe in the offensive outburst he's posted in 2015. Diaz has some defensive chops but it's likely he slots over from short to second base in the long run. Overall that's definitely a dude to keep your eyes on.

Bryan G. (Temporarily, Colorado): Who's your favorite or the most interesting catching prospect right now?

Mauricio Rubio: There are two guys who really showed up on the scene and made a name for themselves. Jacob Nottingham in Oakland showed the ability to be a serious contributor on offense and defense. Strong, big but athletic body with real power projection and a strong arm. Has real chops for catching.

Willson Contreras is the other guy that I've heard a lot of great things about. I saw him in Kane County back when his game was immature and he was more athletic than skilled. Now he's grown into his skillset some more and he's inspired some absolutely silly grades on his athleticism and hitting ability.

Those are the two guys who are going to be near the top of C prospect lists in my opinion.

Pete (Cooperstown): How sustainable is Lindor's bat? From reading scouting reports, it seems like he's at his ceiling for HR power - is there a chance this is his baseline? (Seems like Correa or Russell are more projectable for baseline 15-20 HR, opposed to Lindor)

Mauricio Rubio: CJ Wittmann's report nailed the profile: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_bat.php?reportid=74

I know some were down on his bat and didn't really see the power coming around in the way that it has. A 50 power projection is both responsible and accurate.

DR70095 (Tel Aviv): Huge fan! Who plays CF for the Cubs next year? Is it possible that we move Baez or Castro there?

Mauricio Rubio: Thanks! Both players have the ability to play centerfield but I just can't see them not resigning Dexter Fowler to man the position in the short term.

Chris (Baltimore): Do you think deGrom is more of a Top 10 starting pitching talent or somewhere 10-20?

Mauricio Rubio: Pretty hard to ignore his production and growth from this year. He's in the backhalf of the top 10 but I have him there.

Wouldn't be a BP Chat without a bevy of Victor Robles questions:

Kevin (Arizona): What are your thoughts on Victor Robles? I know he is very young, but is he a top 15 or possibly a top 10 prospect going into next season?

Mauricio Rubio: He serves the base

(I'll answer these seriously in a few ?'s)

Tommy (DC): Victor Robles potential?

Mauricio Rubio: He can be Future.

Eric (Philly): Thoughts on Victor Robles' potential? top prospect by next year?

Mauricio Rubio: Dude is a monster. Mark Anderson has this report out on him: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_bat.php?reportid=291

That's a lot of 7's and scout sources are backing up the hype. He should be a top 15 prospect on lists next year.

Max (Connecticut): Do you expect any of these guys to bounceback in 2016?: Arismendy Alcantara D.J. Peterson Alen Hanson Alex Jackson David Dahl Tyler Kolek Braden Shipley Reynaldo Lopez Sorry for the huge question, thanks!!!

Mauricio Rubio: I would put my faith in Reynaldo Lopez and David Dahl. Arismendy Alcantara's approach hasn't matured from where it was last year so I'm not expecting him to bounce back. Alex Jackson looked lost at the MWL, he still has talent but that might take some time for him to figure it out. I've heard awful things on Tyler Kolek, high exertion with a terrible body and nary a dependable secondary pitch.

Braden Shipley hurts me.

Jake (Kalamazoo): Dynasty strategy question for you: I have a strong team that won this year and should be right there again next season, but I have a feeling I could get Corey Seager for Max Scherzer. Do you do that? It's a hit in '16 but it seems like it could pay off for 8-10 seasons.

Mauricio Rubio: I'd probably ask for one more guy if I'm giving up Scherzer but that seems to be in there. @DynastyGuru is the dude to ask.

misterbob (brookhaven pa): Mauricio---Interested in your take on a few young guys I currently have on my fantasy roster-----Josh Bell, Dave Dahl and Hector Olivera. How would you rank them as far as their futures and their ceilings ----realizing that Olivera hasnt yet given you much of an opportunity to evaluate him. So far though I do see a lot of swing and miss in the few times I've seen him with the Braves, especially vs the off speed stuff. Thanks

Mauricio Rubio: Dahl then Bell then Olivera with the last two being close in value. I know Dahl had a rough season but he still has serious potential and upside.

Marco Rubio (Iowa): Are we related?

Mauricio Rubio: No, and stop asking me for water, get your own damn bottle.

Ethan Spalding (Madison): tell people to follow me on twitter so i get to 400

Mauricio Rubio: I'll tell them to follow your old handle

James Fegan (Elkhart, IN): What are some of your least favorite MLB players that people try to make comps to? Not like Mike Trout, or Clayton Kershaw, where the prospect simply can't be anywhere near as good, but they are comparing prospect to unicorns, such as when every command/control guy with low whiffs is Mark Buehrle. This is rambling. I'm sorry, Mau.

Mauricio Rubio: First the good James question.

I know it's not technically what you were asking but I hate it when a right handed dude with solid average to plus command who throws in the 89-91 range gets comp'd to Greg Maddux. Everyone has this warped idea of what Maddux was and it needs to stop. I'm sick of it!

The Baez-Sheffield comps were both irresponsible and irksome when people couldn't properly separate the swing comp to the actual player skills.

And yeah the MB comps are tiresome as well. Comps on twitter are generally awful.

Eric (Kansas): What baseball team is the most frat

Mauricio Rubio: It's the Cubs. They have costume themed parties and every dude is basically college-aged.

TheDave (AR): I've been hanging on to my last $1 forever in my dynasty league. Here are a few guys who have risen up my list. Looking for most upside here. Who should I spend my $1 on? Domingo Acevedo,Jordan Patterson,Kevin Padlo,Wilson Contreras,Harold Ramirez,Johan Mieses,Chad Pinder,Isan Diaz,Willy Garcia,Yairo Munoz

Mauricio Rubio: I'd throw that dollar on Isan Diaz, Wilson Contreras and Yairo Munoz in that order.

Mike (NY): A year from now can you see a top 5 having Espinoza and Robles in it?

Mauricio Rubio: I've heard big reports from Anderson Espinoza as well. It's closer to two years off but it's an idea you can dream on.

Cal Guy (Cal): Hi Mau, Please rank the following OF for next season: Hicks, Maybin, Pompey, Pillar. Thanks!

Mauricio Rubio: Gotta be a 30-team.

Hicks
Pillar
Pompey
Maybin

solerpower (chicago): Could Jomar Reyes be a comparable to Miguel Sano if he develops accordingly?

Mauricio Rubio: Sano has special and rare power, the kind of raw strength that you talk about years from now. Comparing prospects with vaguely similar profiles to that of Miguel Sano does the player a disservice. Jomar Reyes is very good, a potential plus player as Tucker Blair describes here

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/eyewitness_bat.php?reportid=195

But comping him to Sano is tall timber.

Rob (Alaska): At what point is Travis Shaw real?

Mauricio Rubio: Stranger things have happened. He's on the right side of a platoon split in terms of remaining productive, I think he's shown enough to warrant attention as a productive player, althought I'm still not in on a nearly .500 slugging long term.

Justin (Illinois): Cubs #3 sp in playoffs...Hendricks or Hammel?

Mauricio Rubio: My bet is on Hendricks and then the bullpen. I don't like either option even though Hendricks has pitched well of late. I don't like Hendricks getting to the 3rd PA against playoff competition with advance scouting reports out on him but if you can yank him after three and go to Wood then the 'pen I think that works.

Let's dovetail

JB (Wisconsin): Should Cubs trade for a sp like Tyson Ross or sign a stud like Price?

Mauricio Rubio: This offseason is going to be critically important in terms of setting up a serious run at the division. At this point the Cubs' young arms aren't ready to make a jump to the majors and they'll need to get one more starter to help cover for the lack of innings Hendricks and the 5 spot typically throw up.

If it's me I go after a few of the three starters and retain flexibility to cover other holes on the team. I don't like the idea of paying two starters in excess of $100mm and then having to deal with arbitration wrt to Arrieta down the line.

John (CT): Looking ahead to next season, who has the better year at second: Robinson Cano or Roughned Odor?

Mauricio Rubio: Didn't think this would be a question after Odor's struggles early in his year but man, I'm willing to bet on Odor over Cano for next year.

Sally (Shelbyville): Hey, Mauricio! Aledmys Diaz hit quite well in Cuba at ages 19-22, and after a poor initial 3 months he was a monster in the second half this year across AA/AAA (last 52 games roughly .340/.400/.600). Could he be a Renteria type at SS long term? More power but less glove? Thanks for chatting!

Mauricio Rubio: Hey Sally, I don't think he's going to come close to Renteria-level production. He might be more power than glove but the overall profile is less than inspiring.

Jeff (San Francisco): The A's have really gotten a chance to explore their rotation depth this season. Of Kendall Graveman, Jesse Chavez, Sean Nolin, Aaron Brooks, and Felix Doubront, are any more than rotation filler? Right now, in my mind, only Sonny Gray and Chris Bassitt have rotation spots locked down for next season. Jesse Hahn, A.J. Griffin, and Jarrod Parker all seem at varying points of a career ending injury trajectory.

Mauricio Rubio: I wan'ted to buy into Sean Nolin but I don't think any of those guys are much more than rotation filler. Billy Beane will have to get pretty creative next year to plug those rotation spots.

Mike (Northside): On recent episode of TINO, you commented that Javier Baez had learned plate discipline with the cubs' development staff ... could you elaborate on what that looks like during in-game plate appearances? I can see from his stats that K's are down (although swinging strike rate is still very high), but seems like his power is down as well ...

Mauricio Rubio: His approach is tampered down from when he was trying to hit 600-foot bombs. You'll still see him gear up for a homerun, but that's usually only when the count and situation dictates it. He looks pretty different from the ultra aggressive player we saw last year.

Cordwainer (Sheboygan): Thanks for chatting, Mauricio! Edmundo Sosa showed some serious power this year (.185 ISO, and over .200 on the road), and he also hit for average for the 3rd straight year. Could he be a plus bat at the shortstop position long term?

Mauricio Rubio: The hit tool profiled as plus potential coming into the year and he's held up that reputation. All signs point to him sticking at short as well with a plus defensive profile. The ISO is a little high but he's going to have a bit of pop to go along with a really nice hit tool. I'm eager to get him for an extended look in the MWL next year, he's a dude to watch.

Kevin (La Crosse, WI): Which Cubs prospects would be most likely to be packaged in a deal this offseason for a starter? (If they decide to go with that route and not starting a top of the rotation type starter in free agency)

Mauricio Rubio: Depends on the caliber of starter they're looking at. It was pretty clear they weren't comfortable getting in on Cole Hamels during the deadline and reports are that the ask from SD on Tyson Ross was irresponsibly high. With that in mind I think you're going to be looking at a mix of MLB assets and prospects going in a deal for a starter.

Randy (Iowa): Do the Cubs still have a top 8 farm system?

Mauricio Rubio: Yes and the emergence of Willson Contreras helps that out a lot. They have Gleyber Torres and Ian Happ in the farm to go along with some arms like Duane Underwood and Pierce Johnson. Opinions on Dylan Cease are mixed because of his command profile but the man throws in the upper 90's and I have heard reports that he was pressing 99 in a few starts.

Lucas (VA): I feel like I've read a wide variety of perspectives on Lewis Brinson's progress with the hit tool. On the one han he did his best hitting in hitters leagues, but on the other hand, he was still well above average for every league he played in (by WRC+). Long story short, what's a good guess for what he hits like in the bigs? Little better than Michael Taylor? (selfishly asking because as a Rangers fan, I cringe at DeShields' "defense" in CF)

Mauricio Rubio: I think that their OFP offensive profiles are similar. Taylor and Brinson both have plus raw power with limited hit tools.

Theo (Chicago): Who says No? Cubs trade Castro, Alcantara and Pierce Johnson for Tyson Ross?

Mauricio Rubio: Judging by the aggressive asking price I've heard around Tyson Ross I think it's possible the Padres already said no to this.

Lawrence (Kansas): Mauricio! Shortstop Edmundo Sosa was really solid this year (.854 OPS) and even better on the road (.330/.390/.540) but I haven't heard much about his glovework. Can he stay at short? Can he maybe even excel there? Thanks!

Mauricio Rubio: Second Edmundo Sosa question. Sosa has the footwork and hands for short which is a good mix for sticking and indeed excelling at the position. His arm is the weak spot but he has enough juice to be a shortstop long term.

James Fegan (Elkhart, IN): Why is Chipotle your favorite Mexican place and for how long has this been the case?

Mauricio Rubio: We gonna throw hands.

Cal Guy (Cal): Mau, Who would you rather have long-term, Gausman or Daniel Norris?

Mauricio Rubio: I'm leaning Norris here because I'm currently looking at the list of Baltimore Orioles pitching prospects and it's not pretty.

Astrid (Texas): Are the Rangers "on fleek"?

Mauricio Rubio: not as on fleek as my eyebrows.

Jack (Texas): Can you elaborate on Braden Shipley and his violent tendencies?

Mauricio Rubio: I fell in love with the profile, athletic and armed with a plus potential change and a curveball that showed development as 2014 wore on. This year I've gotten reports on his stuff and the term used to describe it was "middling". He had a strong August but caution is to be exercised here.

Alex (Anaheim): Who will earn the second AL Wild Card spot?

Mauricio Rubio: The Twins have a case to start Mike Pelfrey in the WC game and the Angels just signed Jo-Jo Reyes so please dear god let it be the Astros.

Alex (SF): Thoughts on Sean Manaea?

Mauricio Rubio: He's going to be a solid three starter for Oakland, two plus potential pitches backed up with an average change. That works.

JB (Iowa): Better career: Billy McKinney or Albert Almora?

Mauricio Rubio: Albert Almora but by a margin that is much thinner than most imagined a year ago.

Mauricio Rubio: Thanks for the questions guys!


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